1. Thank you all for your patience with our technical errors. We think we've fixed it, but please do report anything that's not working right, by posting on the 'minor bugs' thread in Support and Feedback, which can be found here.
    Dismiss Notice
  1. A.S.Ford

    A.S.Ford Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2016
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    360
    Location:
    Wiltshire

    Need Help!! - Scrivener or Google Drive??

    Discussion in 'Software' started by A.S.Ford, Oct 22, 2018.

    I bought Scrivener a year or two ago (which obviously cost a bit) but abandoned it in favour of using Google Drive. I am now conflicted.

    Throughout my early childhood (about 5 to 11 years old) I wrote only using pen and paper (occasionally being allowed to type up stories on the family pc - one of the really old ones, haha - with my Mum who would help with my spelling etc. From the ages of 12 onwards - don't worry all this is going somewhere! - I was given my own pc for my writing and to type up homework (essays etc.) while my Mum used to family pc to do her own work. So I got comfortable using Microsoft Word for my writing and using dictionaries, thesauruses and encyclopedias as my research sources. Then, at the age of 16 years old I was allowed internet access on my own pc (having to use the internet via the family pc before then) but I still wasn't really drawn to using it for anything other than research and talking to my friends.

    However, almost 9 years on I have been using Google Drive for the past 5 years as my primary location for my writing as it is reminiscent of Microsoft Word but is always free and I can access it anywhere as long as I have an internet connection. Unfortunately though, using Drive means being on the internet (for the most part as you can make some documents available offline but I find using it while connected to the internet is easier when it comes to research purposes) and I have found over the past few years that that is my biggest procrastination tool and really affects my ability to get much writing done quite often. I do still write in notebooks from time to time but,for the majority, I write on my pc or my laptop. Recently the internet has become my procrastination crutch quite badly and I ended up looking at Scrivener again out of curiosity.

    Now, I've heard a lot of good things about Scrivener and I know a lot of writers use it. I am interested in the way they have laid everything out and the features they have included seems to mean that I won't ever need to go on my internet browser while I have the programme open whereas, with Google Drive, I am already on the internet and sometime have to constantly open new tabs for research which then often lead to a tirade of google searches or '5 second' social media checks that actually last an hour each (by extension, this would also mean that if the internet was down I could still working on my story if it was on Scrivener but not if it was on Google Drive). One thing that does concerns me though (other than the hassle I would have of learning how to use Scrivener (something that I have heard can take a long time) and of moving all my notes and chapters over to the programme) is the programme's export process which I have heard produces documents that are unreadable by other computers or word processors.

    So, basically, I just wanted to know how you feel about Scrivener and if you would recommend it ... Does the export process really mean that I wouldn't be able to export my Scrivener files to Microsoft, or Google Drive, documents on my pc (for a secondary location as a just-in-case precaution which I like to do)? If that is the case, and I will have to copy and paste my documents straight onto a Microsoft or Drive file, is there any point to me using Scrivener in the long run? With all that I have told you, do you think I should stick to Drive or use Drive as my backup and Scrivener as my main writing medium?

    If you managed to read this through all the way to the end and/or reply then THANK YOU!
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,344
    Likes Received:
    13,070
    I'm a bit unclear on what you mean by this. Scrivener won't substitute for the Internet for doing research, though it does provide a place to put your research if you want to. Can you clarify?

    Basic use of Scrivener is incredibly easy. You could spend forever learning all the nuances of all the features, but those features aren't in your face. IMO, you could be using it productively within minutes of installing it.

    You can "compile" one, some, or all of the files in a project to a file of format text, PDF, RTF, Word, Open Office, Final Draft, Fountain Screenplay...OK, I'm tired of typing. Many many formats. :)

    Some of the fancy features produce some data that is less easy to export--metadata, snapshots, etc. But the text of your manuscript is easy to get out of Scrivener.

    I use Scrivener, on both laptop and phone, as my main writing application. My main file is on Dropbox, and I auto-backup to my laptop's disk, so that those get backed up with my normal laptop backup procedure. I also periodically print the whole thing as the ultimate technology-free backup, but that's just me.
     
  3. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,344
    Likes Received:
    13,070
    Returning to add: If you use Scrivener, increase the maximum number of auto-backups. If you're set to back up on every quit, and you have a problem, you can accidentally destroy the default five backups in moments of debugging. I do unlimited backups and delete the excess by hand.
     
    Glen Barrington and A.S.Ford like this.
  4. Glen Barrington

    Glen Barrington Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2018
    Messages:
    258
    Likes Received:
    388
    Location:
    Missisippi Valley
    I suspect you are referring to Google Docs rather than Google Drive. Personally, I don't see why you couldn't set up Scrivener to save to Google Drive. I know I save my Scrivener documents to Microsoft OneDrive with no ill effects.

    I like having my Scrivener files on OneDrive since I can access them directly with either my Desktop or my laptop computer (or my phone or tablet for that matter!)
     
    J.D. Ray, SethLoki and A.S.Ford like this.
  5. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2018
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    182
    When you say you use Google Drive, did you mean Google Docs?
    Google drive is great. I use it with MS Word and Google Docs, Google drive has a local folder on your computer (as does DropBox but many others do not.) the local folder has copies of work stored to Google Drive which means you can work whilst disconnected from the internet. When you re-connect all the new/updated work in your Google Drive folder will sync with your cloud folder and then any other devices on which it is installed.
    I mostly use DropBox which is almost identical to Google Drive for all practical purposes.
    Most of the day I work on a PC, the work is stored in my dropbox folder, this automatically syncs with my laptop when I connect the laptop to the internet.

    I use some bits of my Scrivener, I have the current Version and a Beta of Version 3.
    I use Scrivener less and less and would not pay for it again. My main gripe is that the word processor is nowhere near as good as MS Word or Libre or Open Office. It is pretty crude by any comparison. That ruins the whole thing for me, but clearly it does not ruin it for a lot of people.
    If the ridiculous cost of MS Word is an issue, (it is to me; on principle - I have an old corporate license so never did pay for it.) then Libre Office is an extremely fine free alternative which will allow you to work offline using files in your local Google Drive folder.
    LibreOffice also runs on Net Books or Linux machines, it does not eat resources and can be run on old slow hardware quite successfully. Unlike newer versions of Word.
    I find using 'Navigation' , bookmarks and hyperlinks is completely sufficient for my needs so I do not need a lot of the stuff in Scrivener.
    I do not like that linking between documents and files in Scrivener is MUCH more restricted than it is in other word processors.
    I love the cork board. but I can do equivalent things other ways.
    The facility to format a manuscript for Epub is nice, but you can get a very good quality app from Amazon (free) to do the same thing.
    Does the export process really mean that I wouldn't be able to export my Scrivener files to Microsoft
    I just tried this as I've never used the facility before - It seems you can export files from Scrivener in many formats including .docx which is the current MS Word standard and also works in pretty much any word processor including Google Docs. HOWEVER,,,,,, at first look it appears you can only export one document at a time which would be a nightmare if you had dozens or hundreds of documents in your project.

    Scrivener saves documents in RTF format (Rich Text Format) which is readable by virtually any word processor including Word Pad which is built in with most Windows versions. HOWEVER,,,,,, when Scrivener saves your file in RTF it gives it an alpha numeric name not the one you might have given it yourself, again if you have a lot of documents this is an issue.
    When I looked to see how it worked I found a sub-folder in Scrivener which contained several hundred randomly named RTF files, it turned out they were all the stuff I had created in my project, I suppose I could extract them all and recreate the project if scrivener exploded, but it would be a real pain.

    Not quite sure what you meant by;
    "do you think I should stick to Drive or use Drive as my backup and Scrivener as my main writing medium?"
    I'm thinking you're refering to Google Docs.
    You can set a folder in Google Drive as the default location for your Scrivener project files so it will automatically save and backup for you.

    You can of course download a trial version of Scrivener which works for (I think) 20 days. That might help.
    I have recently started using Aeon Time line software which is totally brilliant and also reduces the need for Scrivener. (even though the two can share information.)

    I confess to using the internet as my procrastination tool as well, especially these forums if I'm not careful, I now only come here 1 time per day. this is the longest I've been on here for a couple of weeks now.
    Good luck,
     
    A.S.Ford likes this.
  6. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,344
    Likes Received:
    13,070
    You can export ("compile") dozens or hundreds of documents at once--but to ONE document. The idea is that you compile the many, many documents into a single manuscript, or of course bits of the manuscript if you want.

    At least, that's what my version (2.8) does. I haven't tried the later version yet; I still want to use a Mac that doesn't support it.
     
    A.S.Ford likes this.
  7. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2018
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    182
    Thank you for that. I was looking to see if I could export everything so all my individual documents would stay separate but in .docx format (other formats are available) so they are available to use in some program other than scrivener.
    I really hate being tied so tightly into one tool and that is probably my biggest gripe with Scrivener apart from my issues with it's word processor.
     
  8. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2016
    Messages:
    388
    Likes Received:
    475
    You can do that. I'm sure of Version 3 (I just checked), but I'm fairly certain it was there in Version 2 (including the Windows version).

    There's "compile", which compiles whatever you want into your manuscript file.

    Then there's "Export":"Files", which exports everything (of your current selection) as separate files. You can choose the file format. Both .doc/.docx are in there.

    Besides, Scrivener projects are basically just folders (on the Mac somewhat cosmetically hidden, but on Windows, IIRC, just folders) with the individual files as RTFs. Those folders are not even zipped for saving space. It's just that the files are not named nicely (that's what the "Export" does), but you could recover your work should Scrivener vanish suddenly. RTFs are human readable (if you open them with a text editor, there's an awful lot of cryptic code, but the actual text is near the end of the file perfectly readable) and can be opened with virtually everything. In particular, I know they can be opened properly with Word (after all, RTF is the original Word format[!]), LibreOffice, and Google Docs.

    Scrivener is a LOT less proprietary and tied into just one tool than Word/.doc/.docx. IMHO.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    13,280
    Likes Received:
    7,849
    Location:
    California, US
    Like Scrivener, Word has proprietary formats (.doc and .docx), but you can also save as plain text, RTF, XML, HTML, PDF, and open document format. So they seem fairly equivalent in terms of being tied into just one tool.
     
  10. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,344
    Likes Received:
    13,070
    Hey, look at that! It did work in my version.
     
  11. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    17,534
    Likes Received:
    19,548
    Location:
    Scotland
    I tried Scrivener a while back, but it really wasn't for me. One of the things that convinced me not to use it (other than the fact I've been using Apple's wordprocessor —ClarisWorks/AppleWorks/Pages—ever since I first bought a Mackintosh computer in 1994,) is that it's damn hard (perhaps impossible) to import work you've done previously using another programme. It also doesn't export its own stuff all that well either, and apparently doesn't format for ePubs, etc. (That may have changed since I tried using it a couple of years ago ...it really needs to add this feature and improve its formatting if it's going to continue to appeal to writers.) Plus, I found that all the bells and whistles and corkboards and 'organising' is something I already do myself. I've developed a system that works for me very well.

    One of the things that feels weird, when using Scrivener, is that it's a database, not a word processor. It makes the way it's organised a bit strange. There are lots of people who do use it and like it. More power to their arms.

    There are many wordprocessing programmes that are extremely good (LibreOffice is one) and don't cost the earth. I think I paid around £35 for the latest version of Pages, for example. And now I understand it once again comes bundled with the Apple operating system (both High Sierra and now Mojave.) And for a long time it has been capable of reading and exporting to Word, with virtually no loss of formatting. If you work on a Mac, I'd highly recommend Pages, now that it's solved the annoying glitches it had built into its first versions.
     
  12. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,344
    Likes Received:
    13,070
    I'm befuddled. I've found it really easy. In fact, one of my first uses of Scrivener was to use it to organize hundreds and hundreds of stray files by dragging them into Scrivener where they're easier to organize.

    What went wrong?

    Also curious as to what went wrong, though I use incredibly simple formatting, so odds are that I wouldn't have encountered the glitches in question.

    It does "compile" for ePubs. Maybe that's a new feature, or maybe it's an export/compile difference--"compile" supports more file types than export does.

    Now, the compile feature in 2.8 is astoundingly non-intuitive--thank goodness it lets you set up some settings and then never need to touch the settings again. My understanding is that it's been improved in version 3.

    I did once read--come to think of it, did you and I have this conversation before?--that there are two major ways of making mental models, and the majority of programmers use the model that is used by the minority of the population. I wouldn't be surprised if Scrivener works better with the programmer's method of making mental models.
     
    jannert likes this.
  13. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    17,534
    Likes Received:
    19,548
    Location:
    Scotland
    I can't remember the entire process I went through, but I was unable to import the files for my novel that I'd been working on for years ...using Pages and its earlier equivalents. I remember contacting Scrivener for help, and it was confirmed that er, no ...it wasn't something Scrivener could do. I could, apparently, copy and paste the text (which was a lot of faff), but I'd lose all the formatting. Since I had already concluded Scrivener wasn't really something I needed anyway, I didn't push it any farther.

    It's main strength, apparently, is the way it allows you to organise your writing. However, I had already devised a way to do that for myself. I store everything in separate files and folders, all named and dated, etc—including earlier versions, etc. And if I want a couple of these files open at the one time, Apple allows me to do that, no bother. And I have organised my research the same way, using topics and dates ...and this includes photos snatched from the internet, etc. And all of the stuff related to my ongoing WIP is stored in a single folder on my desktop, which I can easily back up whenever I've made changes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
  14. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    13,280
    Likes Received:
    7,849
    Location:
    California, US
    I have Pages for free on my Macbook, and I like it as well. I do use Scrivener, however. I like the ease with which I can move scenes around and choose various options for compiling my Scrivener files into a document. That's a bit easier to me than combining multiple Pages files in different orders, but honestly whatever works best for a given author is the best for that author.
     
  15. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,344
    Likes Received:
    13,070
    Hmm. It appears that it's not Scrivener's fault that it can't import Pages documents directly:

    http://www.literatureandlatte.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=35158

    Scrivener does not support the .pages format directly. It's not possible for apps made by anyone other than Apple to support Pages files, because Apple does not make the file format public. By contrast, Microsoft's .docx format is published publicly, so I was able to write importers and exporters for it.

    Not that that helps, if you have a gazillion Pages documents.
     
  16. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2016
    Messages:
    388
    Likes Received:
    475
    As I tried to explain, Scrivener uses very little proprietary. Project files are file folders, its native text format is RTF (not its own). Just the naming of the files and organization of the RTF files within the folder are a bit mysterious, but not enough to not find your writing within it. I'm also confident that a moderately competent developer could write an app that could decode a Scrivener project file with everything it does. It's just that there's, so far, no good reason to do that, as Literature & Latte did a good job with Scrivener's functionalities including exporting, keep the price moderate, and are nice to let people play with their stuff to, say, get it onto Linux.

    I cannot confirm that Scrivener has any problems exporting its own stuff, or importing others. Always worked for me. Compiling takes some learning to get it done correctly, in particular when one needs automatic numbering and such, but it's not that hard. They have good documentation, and it's basically going through there, and maybe do a bit of trial-and-error. Then again, I am a physicist and have taught myself LaTeX to get my Theses done (in a time BS: Before Scrivener), so I may not be a good authority on learning complex stuff.

    Pages can export to RTF (and .docx), though. Very nicely, too. If you have lots of files, one can use AppleScript to batch-convert or automate the export process. Alas, there's no Automator actions for Pages for some strange reason, so one has to bite the apple (ha!) and learn AppleScipt, though there are scripts to be found online for a lot of the basic stuff like batch converting a folder of Pages files. But, yes, Pages' file format, the proprietariness of it, the lack of Automator actions etc., are a sore point with me, and some of the reasons I do not use Pages much for writing beside business letters. (It's just that it's quite elegant. I have not been able to get Pages to make a bad-looking document, in particular by im- or exporting workflows. If they work, you'll have a good looking document. If they don't, then they don't, period. Other word processor often produce crap and not tell you that what you want cannot be done. Pages doesn't.)

    Oh, and just to correct something else said here: Pages (and Keynote, Numbers) is free by now, or at least if you bought your Mac recently (that means like years, almost a decade, it seems. Can't remember when it was last that they charged for it.)

    This is not to convince someone to use Scrivener. Use whatever you feel comfortable to write. I happen to feel at home within Scrivener, and are really befuddled that someone misses word processor functionality in it (if I write fiction or technical documentation, there's nothing I need word-processor-wise that is not in there), but if you do, then you do.

    I just want to make sure that everyone knows what's there and can be done.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
  17. Glen Barrington

    Glen Barrington Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2018
    Messages:
    258
    Likes Received:
    388
    Location:
    Missisippi Valley
    Most of these programs, in Windows at least, appear to use pretty standard RTF Windows controls that make whatever they are embedded in, into RTF based word processors roughly equivalent to the old "WordPad" that came with Windows a few years ago. This is likely why even the free open source software, like quoll writer, have fairly decent word processing capabilities, no one has to "reinvent the wheel". I suppose there are commercial windows controls that can offer more advanced features, but I bet it would increase the cost of the software, and getting users to agree as to which features are 'needed' might be more trouble and cost than it is worth, in terms of increased sales.
     
  18. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2016
    Messages:
    388
    Likes Received:
    475
    Just to clear up with the "Compile" and "Export":

    1) You compile your whole project into one manuscript file. That's the file to be submitted to a publisher. This one file can be a docx, or ePub, or whatever. You can select which files get compiled into the manuscript. If a chapter doesn't work anymore, just de-select it, and it won't be part of your book anymore... but it will still be there in the project, maybe to spawn another project or whatever.

    2) You can export everything in your project into single files as a work in progress. No, you do NOT have to do it as single file at a time. Just select ALL files you want to export in the Binder, and export them. They will use the name you gave them in the Binder as the file name, not some cryptic number-letter-combo like they have in the project file/folder. They will also be in the same folder structure as they are in the Binder. Essentially, you can export your whole project into a folder structure containing well-named RTF (or doc, or some of the other options it has) files, including the notes and synopses and all the other metadata if you want.

    The same works for importing, BTW. If you have a folder structure, you can select it during import, and the folder structure will be re-created in the Binder.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
  19. Amontillado

    Amontillado Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2018
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    56
    Pains and features are so interrelated, sometimes. :)

    If you open the XML file in every Scrivener project, Mac or Windows, any version of Scrivener, you'll find it's not that hard to understand. There is a title attribute for every one of those painfully random files, and it's the title you gave it.

    So, why not, for crying out loud, just use the chapter title for the document name?

    Well, you might want a chapter in your book titled, "The Evils of Scrivener: Word Uber Alles!"

    But you can't name a file that. No colons in filenames, sorry, and that exclamation point probably isn't a good idea, either. Or quote characters. Yes, you can backslash escape them in Linux or the Mac. Not sure about Windows, but why bother with the complexity? Or filename collisions - you might want to name your first and last chapter the same.

    There are other ways to abstract the chapter names from the files, but L&L's way works. They give every file a safe and guaranteed unique name, and map the safe names to the human-created names in the XML file.

    A long time ago, before there was an IOS version of Scrivener, I wrote a "sync" utility between my Mac and an Android tablet. The sync gizmo read the Scrivener project and copied the documents to a directory tree that mimicked the Binder. Filenames were sanitized and had Scrivener's internal index number added to the file name, along with a prefixed serial number to preserve the order. That got my project to RTF files I could edit on the Android.

    Going the other way, new files got added in the appropriate places in the binder. Files that disappeared were moved to Scrivener's trash.

    It worked great. I think that took about 100 lines of Python. I wrote it in an afternoon without any support from L&L. Later, I learned the XML format is freely available.

    My point is there are sometimes reasons for the way mechanisms work.
     
  20. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2018
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    182
    They shouldn't be if you pay good money for software.
    Which is of no value to anyone else at all. I can write code as well but I don't expect to have to do so for programmes I pay good money for.
    Extracting file names from anonymous XML files is not a mechanism or feature of Scrivener, it's a poor work-around for an irritation which I mentioned in passing.
     
  21. Amontillado

    Amontillado Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2018
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    56
    Justin, very little of what I do is of much worth to anyone. I never meant to say I’d created anything of value. My point was the project format seems simple to me. I’m not a programmer any more than I’m a writer and probably just don’t have a clue.

    If you don’t like Scrivener, what do you suggest?
     
  22. AdrianG

    AdrianG New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2018
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Is Scrivener able to use Microsoft OneDrive from multiple computers? I work from three computers.


    Regards,
    Adrian Gates
    Sr. Editor
     
  23. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    13,280
    Likes Received:
    7,849
    Location:
    California, US
    All you have to do is store your project in the OneDrive folder. It will be there for you on any computer where you have OneDrive signed in and accessible.
     
    Glen Barrington and AdrianG like this.
  24. AdrianG

    AdrianG New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2018
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks. I started implementing it for three different users using citrix vdi. Things are working fine this has improved our productivity.

    Regards,
    Adrian Gates
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice